Auston Matthews makes shocking comment about the NHL's Department of Player Safety

Mike Armenti
February 13, 2024  (10:55)

Auston Matthews reads the play in the offensive zone
Photo credit: NBC Sports

As the Maple Leafs and the rest of the hockey world await the fate of Morgan Rielly following his in-person hearing on Tuesday, the prevailing thought seems to be that his suspension will land on the wrong side of 5 games for the Leafs and will leave them shorthanded on the blueline for a couple of weeks.

The hockey sphere seems to be split on whether Rielly deserved a 2-3 game suspension or a 5 or more game suspension. However, almost everyone seems united in understanding that Rielly did cross a line with his cross-check to the shoulder and head of Ottawa Senators forward Ridly Greig, and that a suspension is warranted, Leaf fans included.
As far as Rielly's own teammates go, they all understand that a reaction to Greig's slapshot heard 'round the world was appropriate. Not only did Ryan Reaves provide quite the commentary on Monday, but a less animated Auston Matthews also spoke his mind on the subject. Among his first thoughts was the fact that Rielly is not out to intentionally hurt anyone.
"It definitely deserved a reaction. But Morgan's not a malicious guy."

Matthews was also asked if he's ever seen someone take a full-blown slapshot on an empty net on a breakaway before. His quick wit was on full display in his response, referencing the NHL's hardest shot competition at the All-Star festivities last weekend.
"Just last week at the All-Star Game."

Matthews has experienced the feeling of being on the receiving end of a hearing with Player Safety before, stemming from an incident between he and Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Dahlin a couple of short seasons ago during the Heritage Classic in which Matthews cross-checked Dahlin in the head after a heated net-front battle.
When asked about his ordeal with George Parros and the Department of Player Safety, Matthews suggested that he felt as though the hearing already had a pre-determined outcome even before he picked up the phone. He's hopeful, though, that Rielly will get a fair shake.
"It's definitely very eye-opening ... I felt like my bed was already made when I hopped on that phone. Everybody's situation is going to be a bit different. I guess we'll see what happens"

Rielly's hearing is expected to take place this afternoon, so we should know late this afternoon or early this evening what Player Safety has in store for Rielly and the Leafs. The fact that it's an in-person hearing does not necessarily mean the suspension will exceed 5 games, just that Player Safety has the option of issuing a suspension that exceeds 5 games. There's still a chance that Rielly's suspension ends up being below 5 games.
13 FEVRIER   |   1131 ANSWERS
Auston Matthews makes shocking comment about the NHL's Department of Player Safety

Do you agree with Auston Matthews that the Department of Player Safety makes their decision on suspensions before the hearings even take place?

Yes, they're crooked76267.4 %
No, they give everyone a fair shake585.1 %
Player Safety is a joke31127.5 %
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